Blackheath train accident

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Blackheath train accident
Date 25 August 2010
Time 07:03
Location Blackheath, Blue Downs, Western Cape
26 km (16 mi) ESE from Cape Town
Coordinates 33°58′13″S 18°42′21″E / 33.9702°S 18.7059°E / -33.9702; 18.7059Coordinates: 33°58′13″S 18°42′21″E / 33.9702°S 18.7059°E / -33.9702; 18.7059
Country South Africa
Rail line Bellville–Stellenbosch
Operator Metrorail
Type of incident Level crossing accident
Trains 1
Deaths 10
Injuries 5

The Blackheath train accident occurred at 7:03 a.m. on 25 August 2010 when a Metrorail commuter train crashed into a minibus taxi on the Buttskop Road level crossing in Blackheath, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa.[1] The minibus was carrying fourteen children to school; nine died on the scene and five were hospitalised.[2] One of the injured children died two days later in the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.[3] The minibus driver was also hospitalised;[2] there were no injuries aboard the train.[4]

An initial investigation by the Railway Safety Regulator determined that the lights and booms at the crossing were in full working order.[4] Witnesses stated that the minibus drove around a queue of stopped cars and past the closed half-booms blocking the crossing.[5][6] The driver, Jacob Humphreys, was arrested upon being released from hospital and charged with ten counts of culpable homicide; he was initially held in custody[7] but was later released on bail.[8] On 12 December 2011 he was convicted in the Western Cape High Court on ten counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder[9] and on 28 February 2012 he was sentenced to an effective twenty years in prison.[10] On 22 March 2013 the Supreme Court of Appeal reduced the conviction to culpable homicide and the sentence to an effective eight years' imprisonment.[11]


  1. ^ "Blackheath Train Accident" (Press release). Western Cape Department of Health. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Davids, Nashira (25 August 2010). "Nine children killed in crash". Times Live. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "10th train crash victim dies". News24. 27 August 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Booms 'were working when train crashed'". Independent Online. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "'Driver may have ignored boom'". News24. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "'Reckless' driver killed school kids - MEC". Independent Online. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Maclennan, Ben (31 August 2010). "Taxi driver appears in court following horror crash". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Davids, Nashira (7 September 2010). "Bail for taxi disaster driver". Times Live. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "Cape Town driver guilty of kids' deaths". News24. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Etheridge, Jenna (28 February 2012). "Killer taxi driver gets 20 years". Independent Online. Sapa. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Schroeder, Fatima (23 March 2013). "Why Humphreys' 20 years was cut to 8". Weekend Argus. Retrieved 12 November 2013.